When a politician can’t change the direction of the winds, they tend to give up and flow with them. Such is the case for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who has spent a week defending Representative John Conyers. Her days of defending him appear to be done.

This should be the final straw that broke the Representative’s back. After multiple reports of downright strange examples of sexual misconduct, the man who’s been on Capitol Hill the longest is being asked by his beloved leader to step down. He already declared he wouldn’t be running for reelection, but that’s apparently not enough for Pelosi.

As American society heads down the road of exposing men in power who utilize their status for sexual pleasure, we can embrace the change and push for something better or we can say the sky is falling. I, for one, agree with the sentiment that this can all be a great thing.

Rep Jim Clyburn has taken some grief by noting when asked about John (Drop my Trow) Conyers that unlike a Matt Lauer or a Harvey Weinstein, they were elected and thus put there by the people and I had some fun teasing Ana Navarro when she lamented the fact that while many in the News and entertainment industry are out, pols she dislikes (Trump, Moore and Clyburn) are still either in office or running for one.

Ironically both Navarro & Clyburn are half right there seems to be a different standard for pols but that standard is different because their bosses aren’t a single board that can act at any time but the voters who only get to make a call every two to four years and thus only express their will at that time, except in extraordinary circumstances.

Yet unless if voters had no idea about this kind of thing going on or allegations of same then they didn’t make an informed choice.  This is exactly the situation with Senator Franken and Rep Conyers.

Fortunately there is an easy solution , if they maintain (as does Rep Conyers) that allegations are false or have expressed contrition (as does Senator Franken) the thing to do is resign AND run in the special election that follows.

By doing this they give the voters the chance to make an informed decision and decide if:

  1.  They think the charges are true and want him out
  2.  They think the charges are true but, for whatever reason think they’re not disqualifying
  3.  They’re unsure about the charges but prefer a change
  4.  They’re unsure about the charges but prefer to stand pat
  5.  They think the charges are false but prefer a change
  6.  They think the charges are false and are sticking with their guy.

Ironically this is exactly the position that both President Trump and Judge Roy Moore were put in. Unlike Franken and Conyers who as liberals were protected with all their might by the press, because of the “R” next to their names that same media made sure that voters were intimately acquainted with allegations against President Trump and Roy Moore come election time.

In the case of President Trump either rejected the charges as partisan BS (like me) or decided that Felonia Von Paintsuit was such a danger to the country that she must be stopped (like many others) and elected him anyways over Ana Navarro’s objections.

In Alabama voters are going to get that same chance with Roy Moore, if potential Moore voters think the accusations as they stand are disqualifying (I don’t as I’ve already explained here) or that Moore is lying and choose to reject him they can do so, but if they think the charges are either false, unproven, not disqualifying, or a political hit they can reject them and choose to elect him over Ana Navarro’s objections.

I think the voters they represent deserve that same chance, not only on Franken and Conyers, but on every single congressman who had a settlement paid by taxpayer funds for harassment. They should be exposed at once, resign and if they think they still deserve their seat run for it and make their best case to the voters they represent.

That way like NBC or Miramax or PBS those in charge are in a position to make an informed decision without waiting for November in an even-numbered year and if Jim Clyburn or Ana Navarro or even I don’t like that decision, well that’s just too bad because the call and the responsibility isn’t ours it’s theirs.

Harvey Weinstein image by DAvid Shankbone via Wikipedia

With the departure of Keillor (and David Sweeney) at NPR and Matt Lauer at NBC and with the Black Caucus trying to force Conyers out it’s time to repeat the question I asked months ago when Weinstien and the Hollywood sexual harassment dam broke.

So for those who you Hate Trump but are outraged over Weinstein I have two questions for you:

Would the price of Weinstein never being exposed have been worth it to you if it meant Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump in 2016?

If the answer to the first question is yes: At what number of new women victimized by Mr. Weinstein would that price become too high?

Now let repeat these questions to our media/feminist/liberal friends again with a slight modification:

Knowing what you know now would the price of all the predators of the left from Weinstein to Keillor to Lauer never being exposed have been worth it if it meant Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in 2016?

If the answer to the question is “Yes” at what number of new women victimized in the Pervnado revelations form Weinstien to Lauer make the price of a Hillary win too high to pay?

I think the answer to this question would be very telling.

Everyone who walks in through the casino doors hopes for a jackpot. However, fortune favors only those who are smart and shrewd enough to claim it. Admit it, we all want to get super rich super-fast. Even the most honest of gamblers must have wondered about hacking an online casino. A word of caution though, hacking a live casino is illegal. If you would like to know how to win the bonuses and free spin, hunting for promo offers would be the safer option!

Moreover, hacking a casino is not as easy as it looks in the movies. The casinos are heavily guarded and always under the eye of a surveillance camera. Tech-savvy players and coders can even infiltrate the gambling software only once they get past all the security and firewall protection.

All said and done, hacking into a casino is not unheard of. There are plenty of stories where people have managed to beat the house for millions! However, for all their meticulous planning, most of the cheaters do get caught eventually. Here are some of the most successful casino hacking stories:

FIN10 Hijacking Canadian Casinos

Cybersecurity of casinos in Canada was under serious threat of being hacked by a group called FN10. A team of hackers spent over three years, trying to find a way into the core systems of major Canadian casinos and betting platforms. Once successful they would infiltrate the sensitive files and steal information, holding the victim casino ransom for 100 and 500 Bitcoins — about $35,000 to $170,000 CAD. They collected crucial data such as bank records, customer information, corporate records and personal communication details from Canadian casinos. According to FireEye, a cyber-security group, the FN10 was operative in as early as 2013 and was only discovered in 2016. The hackers are yet to be identified.

The Fish Tank Fiasco  

Online casinos and live betting platforms are no longer safe from the eagle eyes of the hackers. They just need an outlet, one loose spot and they squirm their way in and steal vital information. In this case, a team used a fish tank to hack into the casinos of North America. The high-tech fish tank was equipped with internet connectivity and could be controlled via a remote. Hackers could transfer about 10GB data from the casino companies in minutes. The scam was eventually detected under the company’s software routine check-up. The entire fiasco was planned very cleverly using only the standard protocols used for streaming audio-visual content. Now, that’s innovative!

Mathematician Turned Hacker

A Russian mathematician Alex tried his hand at casino hacking. Tired of his monotonous and exhausting business, this programmer decided to con a casino. He developed a program that could get into the RNG or random number generator of the casino slots and retrieve the complicated algorithms of numbers. His business venture then started engineering reverse algorithms pseudorandom number generators, or PRNGs. These codes could monitor the happenings of the slot machines, hence predicting the outcomes. With the PRNGs, Alex could now decipher which casino or slot would win and invest his money there. He recruited a team of agents who would roam around the casinos from Poland to Peru and play only at the slots that Alex had “figured out.” A 4-member group can make more than $25,000 per week using Alex’s hack.

The Roulette Scam

The Roulette Scam involves a New York crime ring that invaded casinos in Ohio sometime in 2012. The group, consisting of 50-70 members, had its people spread out across different casinos across America; the Casino Control Authorities eventually discovered them. Each player would bet a small nominal amount initially, pocketing specific colored chips as another would distract the dealer. The player would then pass the chips on to another person who would take his place in the game. The second member would hit another table and cash in on the high-value chips and boost his earnings. The group made around $1000-$2000 per scam and were caught in four different cities in Ohio.

The 60-Seconds ATM Scam

Casino scams don’t usually take place on the betting tables; sometimes all one needs is a debit card. In 2014, a group of 14 people was charged with the theft of $1 million from Citibank via the casinos in Nevada and California. The hackers found a gateway, a gap in the kiosks security for about 60-seconds only via which they could make multiple withdrawals. The leader of the conspiracy, Ara Keshishyan recruited a team to visit the casinos in California and open various Citibank accounts. In that one-minute gap, the hackers could withdraw ten times the amount on their accounts. However, they were careful enough to limit the withdrawals under $10,000 to keep suspicions at bay. Talk about cashing in on opportunities!

The Roselli Brothers

A team of hackers who called themselves the Roselli Brothers managed to make over $37 million from casinos in New Jersey, Nevada, and Puerto Rico without having to spend a dime. They first infiltrated the casino software and obtained the details of people with excellent credit records. The brothers then opened various accounts in their names and deposited about $50,000. This scam spanned about five years from 1995 to 2000 where they successfully managed to dupe gaming officials into believing that they were losing. In reality, the associates won massive profits and paid off all the outstanding parties boosting their credit line by millions!

The Bottom Line

As long as gambling has existed, there have always been players who would strive to beat it. Only some are noble enough to tread the road never taken. They honestly place their bets without breaking the rules. Most shortcut approaches, however, culminate into one big scam. Raiding casinos is the fastest, easiest way to earn some big bucks, theoretically. However, there is always the fear of getting caught, and catch you they will. The modern-day security measures are pretty reliable in protecting the casinos from any “shady business” and infiltration.

I’m staying away from most headlines out of news exhaustion, so today I’m posting about Gertrude Jekyll (no relation to Robert Lewis Stevenson’s fictional doctor).

Gertrude, born 174 years ago, was THE garden designer of her age,

Born in 1843, Jekyll was a British horticulturist, garden designer, artist and writer who created more than 400 gardens in Europe in the US and wrote 15 books and more than 1,000 magazine articles on garden design. To honor Jekyll, described as “a premier influence in garden design,” Google created a lush and colorful landscape doodle Wednesday to celebrate Jekyll’s contribution on her 174 birthday.

Her own house, Munstead Wood, has a glorious garden you can read about in Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood, which is back in reprint after twenty years (and will make a great holiday or housewarming gift).

The house at Munstead Wood was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed the Lutyens bench (see photo on the right). Jekyll and Lutyens collaborated frequently over the years, and she had started the 15-acre garden before he designed the Arts and Crafts style house in 1897.

Gertrude had fourteen full-time gardeners doing the maintenance.

My first trip tp England, nearly forty years ago, was a pilgrimage of sorts to locales related to Arts and Crafts, William Morris, and the Pre-Raphaelites. I didn’t make it to Munstead Wood, but did enjoy other breathtakingly beautiful Jekyll gardens.

In case you wonder, I lack gardening skills and became even more discouraged some 25 years or so ago. I bought a dozen hosta for a shady part of the back yard and enthusiastically spent all day preparing the clay soil and planting them.

The next morning I looked out the window and they were gone.

The deer had eaten them down to the roots.

Gertrude and her fourteen needed a 10′ fence.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

None of this is to imply that the GOP doesn’t have its own predators. The difference is, Republicans don’t generally have the press providing 24/7 air cover.

Stephen Green

After yesterday’s post noting Cokie Roberts raining on the John Conyers “Old Man” meme advanced by Joe Scarborough, Jeffrey Toobin and Mike Brzezinski something hit me that I hadn’t though of concerning both Roberts and Brzezinski.

Mike Brzezinski’s late father has been a power player in Washington her entire life. He was an adviser to LBJ when she was born, National security adviser till she was 14 and remained well known and connected throughout his life.

Coke Roberts is the Daughter of former House Majority Lead Hale Boggs who was first elected in 1941, two years before she was born. After her father died in a plane crash in 1972 her mother Lindsay ran for the seat and won serving in congress till 1991.

This means that both of them had parents who were intimately familiar with Washington DC and the people in it. Furthermore Cokie parents in particular would have had a good grasp of the type of people the various members of congress were.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I had an attractive daughter who was working as a reporter in DC and I had some knowledge of who the leches on the hill were at the very least I just might have given them a heads up as to who to watch out for.

Now we don’t know if there was some kind of unwritten rule about preying on the families of fellow members or folks in DC resulting in a some kind of capital hill “do not grope or screw list” that might have provided these ladies with some cover, but it seems to me any parent worth their salt would warn them just to be on the safe side.

So that being the case I have this question for Mrs. Roberts and Ms Brzezinski:

Are you aware of any other current or former members of congress who have used their power to prey on women in the past and are there any men on capital hill that you were you warned about by either your parents or others on the hill to be careful of?

I think the answer to this question will speak volumes.

by baldilocks

One of my friends surmises that President Trump calls Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Pocahontas because he doesn’t get the Fauxcahontas joke that spread all over the conservative Internet after it was revealed that Warren had claimed to be part Indian and used it to get a position at Harvard. (It was later discovered that she has no Indian heritage and many suspect that Warren knew it all along due to the fact that she stopped mentioning it after she became tenured at Harvard.)

Well, ever since the president dropped the Pocahontas bomb  — again; he’s been calling her that for months –  during a White House ceremony to honor the living members of the WWII Navajo Code Talkers, there has been a huge discussion as to whether the president’s moniker for Warren was offensive or not. Lots of people put it like this to me: “Would you be offended if he called you Harriet Tubman?” Well I don’t know, but since I’m a black American and Tubman was a black Americans heroine, I don’t think offense would be my first feeling. Confusion, maybe.

Anyway, that poor analogy shows that, in cases like these, it’s always best to ask a person to whom the case applies.

Honorable men

CNN political analyst Joshua Green met with Thomas Begay – one of the veterans honored at the event – who said that while he was puzzled by the comment, he was not offended by it.

“The Marines made us yell ‘Geronimo’ when we jumped out of planes, and that didn’t offend me either,” Begay said.

And then there’s this lady:

It turns out that an actual descendant of Pocahontas does not take any offense to President Donald Trump jokingly referring to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”

In a September interview with Sky News, Debbie “White Dove” Porreco said that Trump once asked her if it offended her that he used the name “Pocahontas” to refer to the Democratic senator.

“I know that he uses ‘Pocahontas’ sometimes with Elizabeth Warren,” Porreco explained. “He said, ‘well does that offend you when I use that?’ And I told him no, it doesn’t offend me.”’

Porreco was the model for the animated version of Pocahontas.

Certainly I’ve read accounts of others Indians who were offended by the president, and still others who think that a ceremony to recognize such honorable Americans was not the time to take a jab at a political foe. The latter do have a more legitimate point.

What I do like seeing demonstrated is that Indians are individuals; not that I didn’t know it, of course. But it’s seem that a lot of other people who jump to defend others need to be reminded that most of us can defend our own honor. Or when can decide that our honor doesn’t need defending.

That’s the province of free persons.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

The list of up-and-coming media “stars” has me worried.

Forbes recently published its annual list of “30 Under 30 in the Media,” which includes a variety of troubling selections.

For example, the magazine highlighted Jacob Tobia, who has written a memoir, Sissy, and essays that “speak both to the gender nonconforming community” in which he/she “helps demystify the gender/queer divide.”

Huh? That’s what we need in the United States: nonconforming communities!

Clint Smith, a graduate student at Harvard, has written for The New Yorker, Atlantic, and The New Republic. “My goal is to use a range of different mediums and genres to complicate our conceptions of history,” he says, “so that we are more fully able to understand what has led us to this moment of such profound racial and social inequality.”

Huh? Complications about conceptions of history?

As digital editorial director of Teen Vogue, Phillip Picardi “introduced the website’s political and wellness coverage, helping to shift the brand away from just fashion and celebrity and towards themes of gender equality and social justice. He was so successful that he took on the same role at Allure, and this year he launched the LGBTQ focused Them, Condé Nast’s first new brand since 2007.”

Huh? Teen Vogue recently decided to eliminate its print edition.

Alexandra Petri is a humor writer and the youngest-ever columnist at The Washington Post. “We live in a surreal, Dali-esque world where time seems to crawl, everyone’s clocks are melting, and all laws are passed by creepy white bone pelvises standing alone in deserts, and I think we need jokes to get through it,” she says.

Huh? I don’t think that many people believe the world is surreal. Salvador Dali’s painting is called “The Persistence of Memory” rather than “Melting Clocks”–a relatively common mistake. I always thought it was pretty weird, but I guess a 1931 painting resonates with those under 30.

Dali’s 1931 painting “The Persistence of Memory”

Cooper Hefner, the son of Hugh, “recently worked to keep Playboy relevant by bringing back nudity and featuring the first-ever transgender playmate in the magazine’s centerfold.”

Huh? Against the backdrop of a growing number of sexual harassment cases, I am not sure how these actions provide relevance.

Jazmine Hughes is an associate editor at The New York Times Magazine. One of her highlighted credits is editing an interview with California crazy Maxine Walters.

Huh? A good editor would have found a way to toss the interview in the circular file, but I guess those under 30 are unfamiliar with that action.

If you want to feel mad or sad or both, here is the entire list:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2017/11/14/30-under-30-media-2018-meet-the-young-people-driving-and-defining-content/#21a0df6054b3

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to teach a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Pulitzer finalist, and myriad individuals who have brought honor to their craft. I am glad that none of them ever made this insipid list.

Yesterday on Morning Joe with the world blowing up around Rep John Conyers Joe Scarborough reiterated the status of the congressman as an Icon and implied that his issues came from advanced age. Mika backed him up citing the need to tell her own father that it was time to leave the public stage.

It was a narrative that was used by others as well Jeffrey Toobin at CNN said the same thing implying that his actions were all about advanced age and declining mental facilities.

It was an argument that might have resonated with many American who deal with elderly parents, if Cokie Roberts hadn’t let the cat out of the bag that is.

“Don’t get in the elevator with him, you know, and the whole every female in the press corps knew that, right, don’t get in elevator with him,” said Roberts. She continued, “Now people are saying it out loud. And I think that does make a difference.”

Now Ms. Roberts statements means one of two things. Either Mr. Toobin, Mr. Scarborough and Ms. Brzezinski despite decades of experience on Capital Hill were somehow completely ignorant concerning Mr. Conyers proclivities and thus played the old age card for Conyers, or they were not and attempt to deceive the public to hide their knowledge and decades of silence.

Which is it?

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I’m bouncing off John Ruberry’s post this week; he reviewed the Netflix Longmire series and so I’m going to share my favorite series: Detectorists, which is a charming, funny, and beautifully written British series by Mackenzie Crook.  Let me stress the “beautifully written” part.

Oh, and the photography – breathtaking.

The show centers on characters Andy (Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones).  The two friends are metal detectorist hobbyists; the show is filmed in Suffolk and it’s always beautiful and golden.  The landscapes are stunning and the macro shots of bees or butterflies are breathtaking.  The ear-worm theme song by Johnny Flynn is perfection.  The series is sensory appealing in every possible way but the writing is what sells it.

The writing is smart British humor, not slapstick Monty Python humor (as gold as that is…).  Crook does the writing and he has a clear picture of his overall story arc.  Originally he planned for only two seasons but after the second series ended, he began to miss his “friends” Lance and Andy as well as their quirky friends in the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (DMCD), and he began to feel like he needed to have his characters put down roots and get settled, so he came back for a final third season.

Fans were elated.

From a 2015 review:

Another joy of the writing is the host of charming characters that come from it. The supporting characters of the DMDC and beyond are all quietly eccentric and really develop across the two series into a lovely group of oddballs. I particularly love Hugh (Divian Ladwa) and Russell’s (Pearce Quigley) joint mission in series 2 and basically any time Simon and Garfunkel (Paul Casar and the ever-brilliant Simon Farnaby) are on screen it’s comedy gold.

Rachael Stirling is really lovely as Andy’s wife Becky. She could so easily have become the nagging girlfriend sitcom staple but her relationship with Andy is so well drawn she never does. The show never claims that its characters are perfect so on the occasions where Becky does get frustrated with Andy it feels totally justified.

At the core of the show are two brilliant performances from Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones. As good as everyone else is they are absolutely the glue that binds the show together. The two play their chit-chat and occasional neuroses with absolute honesty; they bounce off each other so naturally that their relationship comes across as unfailingly genuine. Mackenzie Crook has a pedigree in comedy but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as good as he is here.

Season 3 is running in Britain now and will be in America after the first of the year.  Unable to wait, I found the first episode online and watched it and will admit that at the end of the thirty-minute episode I gasped with love and anticipation for what is to come.  It was simply beautiful.

If you haven’t yet discovered this little piece of gold, you can stream the first two episodes on Netflix; they are also available on DVD.  The trailer for Series One is here.

Check it out.  It’s just lovely.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.